Angelina’s ‘80s Archive: "Dead Poets Society"

Well, we’ve gotten through another year of higher education. In spite of everything that has been thrown at us, everything that has gone wrong, we’re still standing—and we should be proud of that fact.  

To our graduates, I say “Congratulations!” Your hard work and dedication, especially in these troubled times, speaks volumes to your character. Your senior spring may not have gone as planned, but I see countless students responsibly making the most of their new normal every day. From mailing handwritten cards to friends to socially distanced family reunions to extracurricular events continuing on Zoom, your passion for what and whom you love continues to thrive. 

For that exact reason, here is the last Bitchin’ Bio of the year: Dead Poets Society.

Release Date: June 2, 1989

Synopsis: When unconventional teacher Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) arrives at the prestigious Welton Academy, his students’ lives are turned around. The “Dead Poets Society,” a secret club Mr. Keating took part in during his school years, is reborn in seniors Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke), Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), and others, as the boys dive deep into poetry and the love, loss, and individuality to which it is inextricably linked.  

Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon are eighth cousins, twice removed!  I’m not going to put a number here, because I don’t know how this qualifies the film’s so-called “Bacon Number.” I just think it’s a weird, cool fact. 

Come For: Robin Williams. I have loved him since I first saw Jumanji (1995) and RV (2006) when I was very small, and his perfect mixture of humor and drama in this film skyrocketed my already intense respect for his talents as a performer. 



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Stay For: A story at once heartbreaking and uplifting, about the power of words and art, the triumphs and tragedies of growing up and finding yourself, and the effect the right teacher can have on a student’s life.  

Had I Seen It? Too many times to count.

Do I Like It? [Contains spoilers] I love it with my entire heart. Dead Poets Society is one of my top five favorite movies. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but nothing emotionally affects me like stories about friendship. After the devastating death of Neil—a kind, intelligent, artistic student and an incredible friend—the way that (most of) the boys stick together the best they can in the cutthroat world of their too-strict prep school, standing behind the teacher who has inspired them to live life to the fullest, breaks me down into tears every single time.

I can’t describe what this film means to me in a few hundred words. In fact, I don’t think any words would do the trick. I find it unmatched in its sad-yet-hopeful beauty and think I am better for having it in my life. 



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So, “Seize the day” in whatever way you can, and never forget how strong you are. I’ve greatly enjoyed being a part of Her Campus this year, and I hope you’ve gotten even a fraction as much out of this column as I have gotten out of writing it. I cannot wait to share more with you, but in the meantime:


“No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”  See you next year!

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